The Republic of China on Taiwan 1993–1999
Impressive economic and socio-political democratization swept this era. Direct and contested presidential elections in 1996 saw Lee Tung-wei, a native Taiwanese of the Nationalist Party, win the office. At the same time, the democratization process was challenged, or more openly threatened, by Beijing’s rhetorical and military saber rattling to intimidate voters.
The fractious social and political debate on National Identity, Chinese-ness, had long been a thorn and taboo topic in the first 30 years of the ROC on Taiwan. Now, who was “Chinese” mattered both socially and politically too. The opposition DPP political party defined itself in a Taiwanese mold going so far as to press for Taiwan independence, a political lightning rod to Beijing.